Arm exercises

In this shoulder strengthening exercise the child lifts and lowers a plastic water bottle filled with water or marbles. 

In this activity the child sits with a beanbag on the head and lifts a large bottle filled with water above the head 10 times. The amount of water in the bottle is adjusted so that the child can lift the bottle just 10 times with ease. 

This activity strengthens the neck, trunk and shoulder muscles. The beanbag on the head means that the child has to lift the bottle slowly and carefully. The beanbag on the head also means that the neck muscles have to work harder to keep the head steady.

Learning to juggle with flower sticks is good for strengthening the arms as well as training attention and coordination. 

This is a great exercise for training arms strength and endurance. The neck,back and tummy muscles also have to work really hard to hold the head and trunk steady. The ankle muscles have to work to maintain balance.

You will need:  a 45-55cm diameter gym ball.

These exercises are suitable for children from about the age of 6 years. You will have to help the child to maintain balance when first practicing the exercises. 

In this exercise the child holds a stick with two hands at chest height and uses it to intercept and push away a 45 cm gym ball. Children really love this exercise and get very enthusiastic about increasing the number of times they can push the ball away.

Children with low muscle tone and joint hypermobility often have difficulty taking weight on their arms. There are two reasons for this, both of which can be easily remedied. 

In these exercises the child stands on the hands and knees and lifts one or more limbs level with the back while keeping the back flat. keeping the back flat requires activation of the abdominal muscles to stabilize the position of the pelvis.  

It is also important to keep the elbows slightly bent to prevent locking of the elbows into hyperextension. Keeping the elbows slightly bent also activates the shoulder muscles to stabilize the shoulder blade. 

By the age of 6-7  years a child should be able to bend the elbows and lower the head to the floor when standing on hands and knees 5 times  with good control.

Successful ball catching always starts with a prediction: careful observation of the person throwing the ball allows one to predict the flight of the ball. The movement brain uses this information to make a judgment about the best position in space to intercept the ball and then plans the arm movements to be ready to catch the ball at the right place and at the right time. 

The ability to predict the flight trajectory of the ball so as to move the hands to exactly the right place at the right time to catch the ball is essential for successful catching. Children with poor ball catching skills often need additional training to ensue that they gather the information they need to predict the path of the ball. 

Predicting the path of the ball depends on two sources of information: